Saturday, September 6, 2014

Recap of last weeks posts 9/1 to 9/6/14

The post receiving the most clicks was:  Major black swan event inevitable

Some recent posts nearing "Best of" status

Water filtration lab today

Bought some gravel yesterday for this purpose.  Tried it out with cotton and gravel only.  As expected it drained well.  Then tried some sand.  It occurred to me that the sand would mix with the gravel and make it very difficult to separate these out when I disassembled the apparatus later.  Not only was this true, but the filtration was a disappointment.


It looks like the sand will clog up the paper, which is intended to keep them separated.  Furthermore, the clogging prevents much water from reaching the end point of the filtration.

The trick is to allow the sand to filter out the most of the crud from the water, while keeping it from getting down into the cotton, where it gets clogged.

Small rocks should be at the border between sand and bigger rocks below.  The rocks should get gradually bigger.  Hopefully, the small rocks will stop the sand seepage before it can clog up the cotton and/or paper.

I found in earlier experiments that paper worked better as a filter than cotton.  Cotton should be the last boundary then, because you don't want anything impeding the flow of water.  Small rocks should form the barrier between the cotton and the upper layers then.

Here's a scheme to try:  Cotton paper mix at the last layer before exit.  On top of that, place the smallest rocks and gradually increase the size of the rocks to the midrange, then make them smaller again as you approach the sand layer.  The sand layer is next to last, with a layer of larger rocks on top of it.  Why?  To keep the sand form hollowing out where the water flow is the greatest.

Update: ( 10 am )

This post will be updated as I go along today in my lab.  As I'm writing, I just got back from an errand, which meant the lab was interrupted briefly.  Just before going on the errand, I had a slight mishap with my apparatus, which caused a big mess that I had to clean up.  It's a little after 10 am local time, so I am about to go back into laboratory.

Just before the mess, I had been fooling around with the rocks and sand only to find that the sand will filter down through the rocks anyway.  Whatever I do, the sand wants to defeat my purpose.  So, I'm thinking up some ideas on what to do next. Maybe some hard barriers that will catch the sand and kept the two separated.  Perhaps some aluminum foil with holes in it, which will allow water through, but hopefully not much sand.

Update ( 11:10 am ):

Well, this is getting a bit frustrating.  Sand is very hard to keep out of where you don't want it to be.  An idea occurred to me to use some microwave bowl covers with holes in them.  These will allow water to go through, and does appear to stop the sand a little.  Perhaps these can be stacked on top of each other because they are just about as wide in diameter as a 2 liter cola bottle.

Update ( 1 pm ):

This sand will not drain worth a flip.  I've got a cola bottle end acting like a funnel with the sand filling it up a few inches and it won't even drain through the big hole in the cola bottle.  What the heck?  My dogs are barking and I'm a gonna take a break.  This one's kicking my ass.

By the way, I'm taking a break while drinking a bottle of water.  Bwah hah hah hah!

Update ( 3:40 pm ):

The day has gone by so fast.  Yet, I'm not at a solution yet.  In order to deal with the sand issue, I decided to try another way from those that I've seen on the YouTube.  Instead of having the water go straight through the layers, I'll have it go up aways, then drain through holes on the side.  That's sort of like a septic tank.  Solids, meaning sand in this case, will go to the bottom, while relatively clearer water will go out the sides.

So far this hasn't produced dramatic results, but this is all rather crude anyway.  It looks like it needs to settle for a lot longer than what I'm giving it time to.

If I were to tweak this a bit, I may get some good results.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pro v. Con

Can you place opposing ideas neatly on a chart for rapid inspection and confirmation of it as true, or not?

Let's try this:

Pro                                                                                  Con
----                                                                                  ----
Eros                                                                                 Thanatos
Culture of Life                                                                  Culture of Death
Materialism                                                                      Mysticism
God                                                                                 Mammon
Order                                                                               Chaos
Love                                                                                 Hate
Abundance                                                                        Scarcity
Freedom                                                                            Bondage
Wisdom                                                                             Ignorance
Positive                                                                              Negative
Sentience                                                                            Oblivion
Good                                                                                  Evil

What do you think of this list?

Thoughts on Fed interventions

Lest anyone think that I've uncritically accepted some assertions made by a certain person somewhere on the net, let me offer a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

Let's start with the Federal Reserve and its mandate, which is to basically manage the economy.  How does it do this?  The Fed has control over the money supply and uses that power to expand and contract it as they deem fit.  For many years, until recently that is, the Fed simply bought and sold short term bonds.  This had the effect of increasing and decreasing the money base, which acted as a stimulant and depressive for the economy through the interest rates therefrom.  However, in the last 14 or so years, the Fed's open market operations have been insufficient in doing this function as interest rates continue to fall further and further towards zero, yet the economy seems to fail to respond.  In fact, the interest rate are at zero now and have been for several years, yet the economy isn't really responding.  What's the Fed to do?  You can't go lower than zero, or if you tried, that wouldn't look good, would it?

You may remember Operation Twist, which was in the news when Gold hit its all time high of about 1900 an ounce.  I think that was a broad movement towards regulating the economy by expanding open market operation even further than before.  We were told that the Fed would purchase long term bonds as a part of this new expanded policy.  This by itself is new and aggressive, as the Fed's policy up to that point was restricted to the near term end of the yield curve.  The yield curve is the interest rates that reflect their duration--- the shortest duration are the overnight rates, which the Fed controls through its open market ops.  The longest duration are the 30 year bonds and then there are all those durations in between.  These various durations have different rates which is referred to as the yield curve.  Well, the new policy of Operation Twist was to monkey around with the yield curve in a  more aggressive fashion.

But what's to stop the Fed from doing even more than that, if they see fit?  In principle, if they can move beyond overnight rates and into longer term maturities, why not go into any market and control it through open market functions?  Nothing stops them, as a matter of fact, by law they are required to do this.

The question therefore, is should the Fed have this much power?  I think not.  But our leaders in all their wisdom have conferred this power to them and there it is.

Those in Congress and the Presidency can interfere in the free market and the Fed does the rest.  We don't have a free market anymore, regardless of what we are being told.  Without a free market, we really can't say that capitalism is failing because capitalism isn't being practiced.

This is a type of price rigging.  For if you do this, you effect the purchasing power of the dollar itself.  If the dollar is massively overvalued, prices are going to be lower than otherwise would be the case.  Since import prices would rise in the case of a weak dollar.  Now if a weak dollar is not desired, the Fed can deal with that too by making the dollar much stronger than what the market says it should be.  That is, what the market would say if it were a truly free market.

What would bring the show to a close is if enough countries in world decided to band against the dollar and end the dollar's reserve currency status.  We could see that eventually.  There's no reason why other countries have to be forced into playing this game.

We saw price controls in the seventies.  This is a much more sophisticated version of the same.  Price fixing doesn't work and won't work this time either.  You may be able to fool the public in the US, but you won't fool other people in the world who don't have to listen to your propaganda.

Parking spot

Well, this about exhausts this video, which was broken down into parts so that I could share it here on the blog.  Anybody interested can now see what I did out there, or most of what I did out there.  Didn't amount to a hill of beans.  Why was I so happy with it?  I wasn't there all that long.  I spent far more time driving than anything else.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Answer to my email query

No fuel cell for my app yet.


Nothing available from Apollo either until next year, I was told over the phone.


It appears that Apollo may be interested in working on a custom built system for a small cabin in a desert environment.  However, the VP guy I talked to was a bit vague on prices.  I get the feeling that the price may be an issue.

Still working the water issue

Water filtration experiments have yielded a clear water result.  But that is with water that was already clean, so nothing is proven yet.  It drains too slowly, may have to buy some gravel and try that.

On another note, I've contacted a couple of fuel cell companies with the idea of killing two birds with one stone.  That is to say, get a water source and electricity in one package.  My main concern there is cost, as fuel cells have that reputation as being expensive.  Need a hydrogen source, although that may be feasible, it's not at all simple.

Still have the rainwater collection option.  Plenty of time to figure this all out as long as the system doesn't fall to pieces first.

Coburn: Let’s change Constitution | TheHill

Coburn: Let’s change Constitution | TheHill

The story is about an Article V convention that would amend the constitution.  I've written about that several times almost at the beginning of the blog nearly 4 years ago.


Democrats want something that will deal with campaign financing.  That could be a common ground that could get a convention started.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trimmed video

I feel comfortable sharing this video, so here it is.  It is on my land on Labor Day weekend 2014.  The land is pretty level.  If there's a concern, it could be about the stability of the ground.  If something gets built on it, it may get undermined with all the erosion that takes place there.

Drat it.  I wish I had spent more time in this area.


Spent most of Thurs., Sept. 4th early morning hours scanning videos and maps in the effort of finding a bush  that I wanted to identify.  Now that's accomplished... whew.

As for going home too early, I think it was because I didn't take any food and I was hungry.  Plus I felt satisfied with my trip.  I didn't anticipate so much trouble getting into the place and didn't want to go into town and come straight back.

Better planning next time might avoid outcomes like this.

Let's not go the way of the Romans, please

With respect to the book Four Witnesses, it has come to my attention that the author's patron saint ( if that is the correct terminology ) is Saint Augustine.  St. Augustine!  He's the guy that presided over the fall of the Roman Empire.  Just perfect!  Perfect!  /sarc

Then I recalled Ayn Rand's mention of St. Thomas Aquinas.  I googled that and came up with this article.  A relevant quote:
Ayn Rand was a philosophical disciple of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). She praises him throughout her writings, for example: “The greatest of all philosophers, Aristotle.” “So long as a single automobile, a single skyscraper or a single copy of Aristotle’s Logic remains in existence, nobody will be able to arouse men’s hope, eagerness and joyous enthusiasm by telling them to ditch their mind and rely on mystic faith,” and “The nineteenth century was the ultimate product and expression of the intellectual trend of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, which means: of a predominantly Aristotelian philosophy,” and “A long time ago, the grandmaster of all grandmasters gave us the basic principles of the method by which one discovers the rules of nature and of life. His name was Aristotle.”

Look, I don't know that much on the subject, but St. Augustine v. St Thomas Aquinas is no contest in terms of outcomes.  The Church was about to be overwhelmed by the Muslim hordes, as it was in the rest of the former Roman Empire, which was Christian.  But after Aquinas, Western Europe rose out of its backwards into prominence.

Which is a better outcome?  It seems to me that the Church is to exist, it cannot afford to let itself be overrun by Muslims.  We can see where that leads to with these radical Islamists today.

Who's the better patron saint?  You decide.  ( Rap Battle of History???)

Methanol Production:Syn-Gas ( repost )


This repost is related to my idea of going off the grid, so to speak.  If you can produce algae and use that biomass to produce syngas, the syngas can be separated out for its hydrogen, and that hydrogen can power a fuel cell that produces water.    Don't necessarily need to produce the methanol.  That's generally the idea.

The original text follows immediately...

The production of syngas can be further produced into methanol. The pyrolysis process mentioned in an earlier post can produce the syngas, biocrude, and biochar.   Methanol can be reformed into hydrogen at the point of sale for a fuel cell powered car.  Biochar can be used to improve soils.  Biocrude can be further processed into useful products.

Just exactly what do these people think they are doing?

Citadel Blasts Lewis' Flash Boys; Says "Small Investors Have Never Been So Fortunate"

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ever so brief comment upon book "Four Witnesses"

This book came on my radar screen after I read one of Barnhardt's posts.

Given the history of the United States, with its religious freedom as a part of the Bill of Rights, her pointed statements against Protestants raised my antenna just a bit.  Even to this day, there's religious conflict in Europe over the schism between the denominations of Christianity.

The book does make me a bit uneasy, because a case is being made for something that I'm not so sure about.  But I got over that.

Basically, the book doesn't make me want to convert to Catholicism.  It doesn't make me want to convert to Protestantism either.  But it does make me appreciate the history of the Church.  It is valid and real as far as I'm concerned.

I'm missing something, I'm sure.  Maybe I'm just not the church going type.  I understand her point of view better, but that doesn't mean that I will ever agree that everybody had better convert to Catholicism or else.

I'd recommend it to those who want to understand Western Civilization better.  You'd think those people would be here in this country, but who knows these days.

Back in the saddle again...

Which means back into the filtration experiments.  Since the clay did not separate from the sand, there must be no clay, or something's wrong.  But the water was clear as a bell.  That gave me an idea to recycle that sand for the next filtration experiment.

With this experiment, I'll be using a small water container ( about 16 oz ) and this recently used sand only.  However, the cotton is still to be used on the bottom end ( or top end depending on how you look at it), else the sand will go out the nozzle.  I wanted to use paper, but the paper wouldn't sit still on the bottom.  It floated back up to the top when I put the wet sand in.

In just a few minutes, the water started to clear again as the sand settled down to the bottom.  I'm going to replace the bottle cap with one that has a couple holes dug into it so that the water will drain out.  Let's see if the water stays clear.  Otherwise, there'll be something of a change in the conditions so that the sand can stay put. ( doggone it )

Major black swan event inevitable

The powers that be have screwed us, no doubt about it.

The only thing to do is to be prepared for it when it arrives.  It's like a hurricane, in some respects.  Hurricanes are unpredictable, even with modern technology doing the prognosticating.  You know one is coming, but what you don't know is where the landfall will be and what the forces will be when it arrives.  A lot of it is guesswork, but you'd better not be in any place that is low, or you will be flooded out.  Thus, you need to avoid bad situations that will arise when the excrement hits the fan, and it will.  When that event happens is hard to tell, just like a hurricane.  But also like the hurricane, it will come ashore eventually.

I'm convinced it's coming because of the way these people are.  They are trying to manage the economy, but there are limits to how much this can be done.  It's like the saying that you may have seen before:  "Accept God, or Be God".  These people think they are Gods and will be able to keep everything under control.  They can't and won't.  That has already been demonstrated time and again throughout history.  Events are going to overwhelm them and the system will fail.  You can trust them as if you trusted God, or you can get the hell out of Dodge.  Being in the Big Cities is not a good idea, because they will be death traps.  I learned that shortly after Katrina when another storm came Houston's way.  The freeways jammed solid for 70 miles in all directions.  People were stranded out there in the hot sun all day long.   Food shelves were bare, and the supermarkets closed early.  Lines formed in front of gas stations so you couldn't get gas.

This prediction is going to seem alarmist to almost everyone.  Most likely, people will pay no heed to this.  But when it hits, there will be panic.  That's the worst thing to be in the middle of.  Millions of people trying to get out of this hellhole are going to be like rats fleeing a sinking ship.  Like not being in low lying places when a hurricane hits, the last place you want to be is in the big city.

It's impossible to say when exactly this event will occur.  We could go on a few years like this, or it could happen any day now.  It's impossible to say what will be the trigger that causes the catastrophe.  It could be a war, a terrorist event, or some other event that causes widespread unrest.  The catastrophe will be accompanied by a monetary collapse.  The price system cannot accurately work with the unlimited printing of money.  Fiat money, as it is called, has always failed.  It will fail again, make no mistake.  The fiat money system is not sound, as it will not survive a major black swan event.

We could survive such an event.  But the Gods in DC in all their wisdom have made this impossible.  Food and water should be stockpiled and placed at strategic locations.  One thing that will get people in panic mode will be when they see empty shelves and stuff stops working.  Nobody in DC is planning for such an event because they are probably concerned about "confidence".  They believe that all you need to run this ship is confidence, but you need an ocean worthy ship.  A monetary system like the one they've created will be a leaky ship.  Propaganda and unlimited money printing won't keep it afloat.  It will only keep the people quiet until all hell breaks loose.

Nobody is likely to be ready for this.  Not even me.  I'm moving in the right direction, but it won't be fast enough, I am beginning to suspect.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Soil test, Part 3

The sand I got from Lowe's seems to have clay in it.  With that in mind, and in running the previous two soil tests, which revealed nothing, I am going to try a soil test on the purchased "sand".  A review of the test's instructions revealed no error on my part.  The testing phase is underway with a result due by next morning.  Let's see what happens this time.

With respect to this "sand", the water seems to go through it pretty well.  However, on the water filtration tests, it seemed to back up while leaving a pond on top.  That's not what I expected.  In fact, that is more like clay.  If there's no evidence of clay here, I'm going to be surprised.

On another note, and in keeping with this main idea of clay, I decided to discontinue the seed germination effort on the first soil sample gathered in June.   I had also used the same sample sand as in the water filtration experiment as in the original soil test.  That soil test revealed no clay.  No seed germination came of it, and besides, if it was mesquite, then fuggedaboutit.   Don't need no mesquite bushes around here, thank you very much.  The "sand" has dried out in the meantime and has left a brick like shape as I took it out of its container.  It was fairly hard, but it did crumble up.  Not exactly like brick, but not exactly like sand either.  I figured that June sample was all sand, but it did dry up into a brick like structure.

I'm left wondering what exactly am I working with?  Do my previous two soil samples differ from each other at all, and if not, why not?  They sure acted differently in the water filtration experiments.

I do have the second filtration "sand" sample taken in July from out west.  It's still drying out, and I'm expecting a harder brick like outcome.  If it is the same as with the June sample, I'm going to be stumped.  For in the water filtration experiment with this July sample, the water did not drain hardly at all.  Clay will not drain, sand will drain.  At least that is what I thought.

Hopefully, there is an explanation that will clear up the confusion.


The soil test did not show clay, which is confusing to say the least.  Okay, but it did show clear water on top, which means good news for the filtration testing ahead.  As for that, I am going to build an apparatus out of wood taken from a pallet.  The only thing I'll have to buy are some nails.  Perhaps I can do this next weekend.

Your Search for Truth -

Your Search for Truth -

My truth is better than yours, so there.

Don't want to make too light of this as it reads a lot like what I've been writing on this here blog.

But it ain't popular.  Ringer's is.  Don't know what that means, or if it means anything at all.

Aw, heck.  Don't want to get into bitching about the lack of pageviews.  Frankly, I don't give a poop.

Road trip's good news, bad news

The good news with respect to the road trip is that I found a place to park on my land, and a place where I can build my cabin.  The bad news is that I can't seem to do much work without feeling pretty tired.

Also, the good news is that my machete worked.  The bad news is that too many other things didn't.

The shovel worked , the electric scooter didn't.

The tent had no instructions and I'm a greenhorn.  So, no tent.  No tent, no air mattress either.  No staying overnight.

The good news is that I collected plenty of information.  The bad news is that I cannot share it here.

Mostly I'm happy just to get out there and do something finally.  But looking back on it now after a couple days, it does seem like something of a disappointment in certain ways.  It is hard to get much done.  It is very expensive to go out there, so between those two facts, progress is likely to be very, very slow.


The tent does indeed have instructions, but I missed it out on location.  Interestingly enough, it says you need two people for assembly in the instructions, but on the outside labeling, it says only one person can assemble it.  I tried it just now in my apartment.  This thing is unwieldly as all get out.   I figured two people might have a time of it wrestling with this thing.

Why can't things be simple?  Or am I am just too dumb?  I'd like to think it's the former not the latter.

The air mattress really didn't have any instructions.  I bought a 12 volt ( from the vehicle ) pump that would be used to inflate it.  Hopefully that will work.  Better try it out before making an attempt out there on site.


There are several videos I made and I wish I made more.  There's plenty of level areas out there that would be suitable for a cabin, I imagine.  That's a topic for later consideration, however.

Only spent four hours out there.  Wished it could have been longer.

Update ( Sept 7th ) :

Checked out the scooter problem.  Only a loose wire.  I may have forgotten the key I needed in order to access the battery, motor, and wiring.  Simple mistake.

I noticed lately that my feet start hurting after standing for awhile.  Brought along cushion insoles, but didn't use them.  No reason why I couldn't have.

Bottom line is that I could have been more productive.  Need to do better next time.

The Isley Brothers - Fight The Power (Part 1 & 2) (1975)

Fighting the Powers that Be.  Hey, that's what I'm doing, or trying to.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting "off-the-grid" may be an illusion

Getting off-the-grid is a term that needs some definition.  No doubt that the term is being applied all too often, which doesn't help when one wants to think clearly and accurately.

Language is the tool of thought.  To have sharp tools, one needs proper definitions.  So, what does it really mean to go off-the-grid?  That question needs answering, or otherwise one risks stumbling into the dark because of foggy thinking.

The term "off-the-grid" must be an ability for basic survival without the need for trading for manufactured goods.  Whatever goods that are needed are made on the spot by one's own abilities and whatever materials are available.

By that definition, I'm not going off-the-grid.  I'm replacing a few things that are currently obtained through trade, but that's about it.  For example, I'm not relying upon major power companies to supply my power.  Also, I am obtaining my own water and taking care of sanitation.  The means to do these things still has to be bought, and when the object wears out, a new one must be obtained.

With respect to that definition and what I'm doing is this: that the project I'm doing is about as difficult a project as I'm capable of doing.  Anything like really going off-the-grid will be impossible.  It's too big of a job to make everything yourself.  It would be a primitive form of existence that probably hasn't been in widespread effect for millenia.  For instance, even relatively savage tribes traded with each other.

Instead, the term and thus the objective should be self-reliance, especially in my older years.  Also, to be able to retire in dignity.  I don't know if I'll get that, but I'm doing about the best I can.


Should change the last word in the title from "illusion" to "misnomer".

Illusion works in the sense that one can fool oneself.  Using the right word helps remove the illusion.  That's kinda funny, yuk, yuk.

Recap of last weeks posts 8/24 to 8/31/14

The tone is getting rather apocalyptic these days.  Maybe we are there, who knows?

The most views for the week:  Before and after 3rd try.  

That post was about the water filtration experiments.  With respect to that, I've set that aside for the moment.

Time is always short.  Maybe even shorter than anyone is aware of at this moment.


It seems like a little housekeeping may be in order.  I found several posts that made the "Best of" category recently, and now I've just done it again.  I didn't point out what category in a post like this, so I'm correcting that now:

Here's a category that have a few new additions to the "Best of":
Best of Financial Markets
Best of Brainstorms ( noted that recently, fortunately )
Best of PHD
Best of Energy
Best of Miscellaneous

Road trip

Not a great way to start working on a project:

I didn't have any more muddy areas to contend with, but there were some bad areas that had to be worked around.  After a considerable effort, I arrived on my land just in time for it to get really hot.  You can't win.  When it rains, it screws up the road, when it doesn't it gets really hot.

After working till about 2 PM Central, I decided that I had had enough.  Just too much work for an old, fat man.  This mud hole was gone by the time I got back, but it was still wet enough to be slippery.  I didn't bother stopping that time.

Drove home immediately.  Stopped at many rest areas for a short nap.  As a consequence, I didn't arrive home until 4:30 Am local time.

Tired to the bone, I went to sleep and didn't wake up until the minutes before the first post today.


Barnhardt has probably nailed the situation down pretty tight and fast.  The Central Banks are manipulating the markets.

We all probably knew that, but somehow nobody has actually said it in the terms that she just put it.  It is an unequivocal and brutal piece that may send you for the nearest fallout shelter because it is that bad.

There's literally nothing holding up assets prices but smoke and mirrors.  If you are depending upon this for your existence, your very existence is in dire threat.

Who knows when this one hits the fan.  But when it does, there won't be any going back to the old times.  There will be a fundamental shift in the way things are done.


That last sentence was pretty understated.  To put it in another way, it would be "the end of the world as we know it".  ( teotwawki )  Sounds pretty drastic, huh?  Could be.

Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away

Just got home from out west, and boy are my arms tired.  yuk, yuk

Heard this on the radio as I was scanning for a station to listen to.  Quite boring, mile after mile of driving.

It's not new, of course.  I've heard this song many times, but it really stood out in comparison with the other stuff they were playing.  Most of it pretty grunge, so it must have been a grunge rock station.

Yep, my move is a grunge type move, but this song ain't really grunge.

Still pretty tired as I write this.  Don't know how much I will write today.


Music is good, video is questionable.